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The Words and Music of Frank Zappa is the first book to move beyond the details of Zappa's biography toward a focused treatment of the rock and pop songs of this great American composer. Frank Zappa worked in a musical realm that is unfamiliar to many radio listeners, but today his music can be appreciated as a whole, allowing it to emerge as a coherent, thoughtful, innovative--if somewhat daunting--body of work. Author Kelly Lowe has left no aspect of that work unexamined, from Zappa's role as a satirist of the highest order, to his place in the genre of "progressive rock," and his importance as one of the foremost critics of American culture and society. Like those of many satirists, Frank Zappa's messages--musical and lyrical--may not always be clear, but they are well worth considering. Kelly Lowe has provided an excellent guide to aid readers in that endeavor. The volume begins with a discussion of Zappa's role as a satirist and a discussion of his musical style, and then proceeds to a prolonged examination of his albums. Through this extended engagement with Zappa's music, a surprisingly clear perspective on his personal views is also provided, shedding light on his treatment of such topics as the falsified notion of love in popular culture, the compromising influence of money on popular music, and the concept of freedom in a systematized society, among other things. The book also features an official discography and a bibliographic essay that discusses the current state of Zappa scholarship.